I've only visited this board a couple of times over the past few months but each time I have been on the receiving end of abuse, from London members, apparently because I earn part of my living as a restaurant critic for a national British newspaper. There seems to be some view among the London Chowhounds - who number only half a dozen as far as I can see - that restaurant critics are the devil's spawn; disgraceful monsters who meet in conclave with the overlords of the restaurant business to decide who shall be hyped and who shall not.
Let me drag off my hooded cloak for a moment. It really isn't some devillish plot. I go to restaurants and I write a column about them. My expertise? None, really, save I like eating in restaurants - oh and a perceived ability (by my editors, at least) to be able to communicate the experience in print. I have never in any of my postings made a big play about it. I mentioned it once in a thread where the subject was the new Observer Food mag where it seemed right to declare an interest, as a writer for that newspaper. (I was wrong to defend it, by the way; issue four, and its still obsessed by celebrity.) Other than that I've simply joined in discussions.
Anyway, it's clear the six of you don't want me here so I'm off. As it happens I have many thousnads of readers, hundreds of whom write to me, some to agree, some to disagree. I answer them all and, in effect, have my own damn bulletin board. I just thought a place like this might be interesting, particularly as so many of the opinions expressed here about new places match what I've said elsewhere in print.
My only regret is that people posting from other countries, asking questions about London, are getting the opinions of such a small, in-bred, desperate clique of aggresive experts. But I shall spoil the party no more. Have a good life.